Lodz

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I have had a fascination about Lodz since I watched an Andrzej Wajda movie. I also have a school friend whose parent came from Lodz. So when the opportunity came to visit I could not let it pass.

History of Lodz Museum

History of Lodz Museum

Lodz was a successful textile city from the 19th century. Wealthy mill owners built opulent palaces but the wealth was not spread around and the general populace lived in fairly drab suburbs. World War II impacted the town badly with the Germans creating a ghetto through which passed around 200,000 Jews. The ghetto area is reportedly essentially unchanged since the war and I was keen to visit but I changed my mind when I read the booklet from the information centre. It says “It’s a real run down part of the city and frankly you’d be advised to keep the camera hidden and a spring loaded truncheon at hand.”

After the war the Soviets bought much of the textiles produce by Lodz and it continued to thrive but they did not reinvest in machinery. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Lodz became much like Detroit in America; tired and run down due to antiquated factories. Recently the city has begun a renovation process and some parts around the centre and a nearby factory are looking very good.

We began by walking from our 14 floor ex-Soviet hotel to Ul. Piotrkowska which forms the north south backbone of the city. It is now essentially a pedestrian plaza although trishaws and taxis and some private cars use it too.

Trishaw

Trishaw

We read that we could take a trishaw ride for 5 PLN. We also read about Manufactura, a former mill that has been renovated into a shopping centre. We engaged a trishaw rider who agreed to take us there. He said he wanted 10 PLN each because it was off the main street. It was a very long way off the main street, along a major thoroughfare with trams, buses and all manner of smaller vehicles as well as a hill. We quickly felt very guilty as the rider was not a boy and we could hear him working hard. We salved our consciences by giving him 30 PLN and he seemed quite happy when we left. Maybe that was because he was free of us?

Manufactura

Manufactura

Manufactura was incredible. It has been completely renovated and some new buildings added in a very sympathetic manner. Inside it was just another shopping mall. We had Mexican for lunch. In Poland Frajitas come with cabbage. We should have guessed.